January 4, 2022

State Joins Coast to Coast Movement to Adopt Zero-Emission Regulation in Path to Healthier Communities

ALBANY, NY –  On December 30, 2021, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation adopted the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule, moving forward with a regulation that will help to achieve widespread electrification of vehicles ranging from delivery vans to tractor trailers. 

“The ACT rule is important because pollution from fossil fuel-powered trucks is especially prevalent in communities of color and low-income communities, which are more likely to be located near highways and freight hubs,” said Kathy Harris, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Advocate at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “The ACT rule is a great first step, and must be combined with other policies and programs, such as replacing and retrofitting existing diesel equipment; establishing incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and mandating emission-reduction measures for environmental justice communities.”

Beginning in 2025, the ACT rule will require manufacturers to produce and sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission trucks and buses annually through 2035, which will have far-reaching public health, environment, and economic benefits for New Yorkers. This zero-emission truck sales regulation is also a necessary pillar of the state’s plan to achieve the emission reductions required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“This is a major victory for environmental justice communities. Diesel-burning trucks are a major contributor to poor air quality in low-income communities and communities of color in New York City that are located adjacent to freeways, ports, and freight hubs. More clean transportation and technologies prioritized in environmental justice communities are needed, but getting electric trucks on the road is a vital first step in dealing with toxic air pollution,” said Kevin Garcia, Transportation Planner at New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

Through substantive public comments and letters, a coalition of environmental justice, public health, environmental, public health, transportation, and labor advocates in New York have been urging Governor Hochul to greenlight the ACT rule. New York is the latest state to adopt the ACT rule after Oregon, Washington and New Jersey; the states that have adopted or are considering the rule make up over 20% of the national fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. 

“Today the Empire State has demonstrated clear ​leadership in addressing air pollution and climate emissions.” said Kevin Shen, a policy analyst and advocate at UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists). “Transitioning New York’s over 600,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks to zero emission vehicles is crucial in making the air safer to breathe, slowing the frightening effects of climate change, reducing truck fleet costs, and providing well-paying jobs. New York joins four other states who have adopted this rule, which will allow New Yorkers and neighbors in New Jersey to breathe cleaner air for many years to come. We look forward to continuing to build the momentum for clean trucks across the region and across the country.”

Tailpipe pollution from trucks and buses, in particular, have an outsized impact on the public health of New Yorkers due to the 685,000 trucks on the road each year, releasing thousands of tons of particulate matter and smog-forming pollutants. A recent MJ Bradley report shows that by adopting the ACT rule, New York could save lives, avoid additional respiratory illnesses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

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